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Couch vs. Floor – Tip Tuesday

Couch versus floor…what on earth am I writing about. What is most comfortable? Preference of sitting? Well actually neither of those questions. As a stay-at-home mom of two young boys, I have noticed the difference of the couch versus the floor from the perspective of parenting. I have always been one to sit on the floor or lie in the grass as some like my husband might say I have some hippie tendencies. Hahaha. As a parent this “hippie” characteristic has been beneficial as I have watched the difference I have interacting with the kids from the couch versus from the floor. On the couch I am met with distractions and limits such as the nearness of my phone, the t.v. remote and the ability for my kids and I to really have room to play. On the floor playtime has endless possibilities. We can toss the ball, build legos, pretend play with dinosaurs, and, of course, tackle as I believe this is an innate feature of all boys. I am not saying that if you are sitting on the couch or your recliner you are disconnected from your kids. I am saying that for me the decision to move from the couch to the floor creates undistracted face-to-face playtime. As soon as I plant myself on the floor, the boys are immediately jumping on top of me. It is as if their eyes discover my placement, there bodies say, “Let’s jump on Mom!” I step into their world when I am on the floor. If you have young ones, I would like to suggest to you to take time to move from the couch to the floor and see what you discover as your kids come rushing towards you. It is a beautiful moment when you step out of your world and into theirs. But remember, sit on the floor with caution as they could come rushing in to tackle you!

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Paleo Pizza Crust Test

Most of us have seen the many pins on Pinterest and numerous blog posts about the “perfect” paleo pizza crust. Determining which to try can almost be overwhelming. Well last year, we tried a cauliflower crust and an almond crust, but they didn’t leave us desiring to make them again. The cauliflower crust had to be eaten with a fork as it easily fell apart and the almond crust was a little to dry and the almond flavor overpowered the pizza, however, it held together.

After leaving the paleo pizza world for a while, I reentered it this week on a search for a recipe that would pass the crust test of it’s ability to be hand held and tasty. And…drumroll please…one has been discovered! We gave Detoxinista’s “The Secret to Perfect Cauliflower Pizza Crust” a try and we were well pleased. The key is definitely reducing as much of the water from the cauliflower as possible and using parchment paper or a pizza stone for baking the crust. (We used parchment paper) The recipe does call for goat cheese, which is not a part of eating a strict paleo diet. If you prefer to omit the goat cheese, you could try the vegan option. I have not tried this option, but I am sure it is delightful.

Now on to the toppings…One side was for my husband, Jason, and the other side for me. Can you guess whose side is whose?

  • We bought a rotisserie chicken from the store as the main topping for both sides of the pizza.
  • Side One – tomato, goat cheese, bacon, roasted garlic
  • Side Tw0 – goat cheese, bacon, roasted garlic, jalapeño

Paleo Pizza

There are definitely more crust recipes to try, but I could honestly stop at this one. However, due to my foodie curiosity, I definitely plan to attempt Against All Grain’s pizza crust as I have never found a recipe of hers that I did not like. Have you found a paleo pizza crust that has passed the test? Or have you escaped the traditional pizza with out-of-the-box toppings like these from Paleo Grubs ? I would love for you to share!


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Toys, toys and more toys….

Toys, toys, and more toys…this is how I felt when we moved from our house to our apartment. In the house the toys were not so obvious, not because they didn’t exist, but because there was more space, rooms, and corners to sneak them into. When we moved into the apartment, it was as if a toy tornado had come through our home on a daily basis. We would pick up and pick up until we could pick up no more. I had to come up with a solution to this problem.

The problem I realized was that most toys were in the kid’s reach. Therefore, the solution needed to require all toys in the sky. Okay, maybe not in the sky, but high enough where they had to ask to get them down. So one day we went and bought these inexpensive containers from Ikea and began separating toys…cars and trucks, superheroes, animals, trains, dinosaurs, etc. (Yes, dinosaurs are an animal, but in our home they are definitely something separate as our four year old is slightly obsessed with them.) Each “type” of toy had it’s own container and then they were placed at the top of the closet. Viola!

Now this has not completely kept toys from being found on the floor and some of our two year olds toys are within his reach, but for the most part, these containers have done wonders. When the boys want to play, with animals, they ask. When they are done and want something new, we pick up the animals before getting another container down.

If you feel like you live in a toy tornado, this storage solution maybe something to try out.

What are some of your toy solutions?

P.S. – This solution has only been tested on toddlers. LOL. However, feel free to test it out on your teenagers.

1 COOKIE 2 Ways – Foodie Friday

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The Laird’s do cookies, especially Liam who pretty much will destroy any cookie that comes his way. Cookies are also one of my go to desserts as they are easy to prepare when friends and family are over or at 10:00 p.m. at night when that sweet tooth comes knocking at your door. Because of this love for cookies, I definitely try to make healthier versions. I have discovered two paleo chocolate chip cookies that are pretty yum. One is based with almond flour and the other coconut flour. What made me find two recipes is that in the paleo world, almond flour is getting slammed as not being a good alternative, but with much discussion and articles, I believe almond flour is a good alternative. However, like most foods, nothing is good in excess and almond flour is the same. (Check out the discussion here for more regarding this topic.) Enough about those details, let’s get to what we all want to know…what are these recipes and which one is the best?

Almond Flour Chocolate Chip Cookies (This recipe I pulled from several recipes and the cookies were delicious.)

Ingredients:

1 cup of almond flour
1 teaspoon of baking powder
Pinch of sea salt
2 eggs
1 tablespoon of honey (or more if you prefer it to be sweeter)
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1/2 cup of dark chocolate chips

Directions: Mix all ingredients together, scoop on baking sheet or parchment paper and bake at 350 F for 10-12 minutes.

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Coconut Flour Chocolate Chip Cookies (This recipe is from Multiply Delicious)

Ingredients:
1/3 cup coconut flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup coconut oil or ghee, melted (I used coconut oil)
1/4 cup maple syrup or honey (I used honey)
2 eggs
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup dark chocolate, chopped (80% cacao and higher)

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together coconut flour, baking soda, seat salt, and cinnamon. Add coconut oil (or ghee), maple syrup or honey, eggs, and vanilla to the bowl and using a hand mixer mix until everything is incorporated. Stir in dark chocolate chunks. If batter is too wet add about 1/2 tablespoon coconut flour into the batter.Scoop batter using a 1-inch cookie scoop placing onto the prepared cookie sheet. Make sure the cookies are about 1-inch apart because the cookies will spread slightly. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until golden. Allow cookies to cool until trying to remove from the cookie sheet.

THE RESULTS

Both were delicious and both are extremely easy to make. The almond flour cookies were definitely a crunchier cookie. The coconut flour cookies had a pinch of cinnamon that might have won me over. Both cookies are better eaten straight from the oven as the consistency of the cookie changes when kept for another day.

If I were you, I would just go ahead and make both. The next time you are having friends over or have this need to bake (which I do often) go for these quick, easy and healthier cookie options.

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The Welcome – Tip Tuesday

Have you ever gone to a friend’s or family member’s home to visit and longed for some of your favorites. You wake up in the morning to have your usual cup of tea or you look for that special piece of candy you have after dinner? A welcoming basket in your home will help fulfill those very comforts your guests are use to having in their home.

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As many of you know, we have lived in Dallas since the fall of 2013. Since then, we have hosted friends and family on an ongoing basis and we absolutely love it. We love seeing their faces, going to fun places that mainly involve food and just hanging out. One thing we always try to do is make sure our guests are welcomed well. My sister-in-law is one of the best at this and has taught me so much about hosting; its all in the small details. The way we greet our guests is usually with a welcoming basket. It is a simple way to make your home feel like theirs. The key to the basket is finding out some of their favorite things from food to hobbies. We prefer to ask one of their friends or spouse so it is a sweet surprise for the guest, but if we must ask the guest directly then we do because it so worth it. Here are some of the questions we ask:

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From this list his/her basket is easily created. You can also use this to help decide restaurants and outings to go on while your guest is in town. Now if guests randomly arrive, which we have had (LOL) then you make do. You can run out to the store once they arrive or bring them to some of their favorite places. I hope this tip helps you host your family and friends as you welcome them well by bringing their home to your home.

(Remember to save these favorites so you can remember when hosting them the next time.)


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Demonstration Challenge

Motherhood…it is one of, if not, the hardest responsibility I have. And it is not necessarily the day-to-day tasks of motherhood that are the hardest for me, but living in the grace of motherhood. The past month, I have had some challenging moments as a mom especially with my four year old. The attitude that has been spewing out of his mouth at different moments of the day can make me want to scream…and I might actually take a moment to do that. This week I had a moment of being done (Yes, it was just a moment, but it was a long one.)

Toys were flying and the kids were screaming. In that moment, I stood up and monster mom appeared. I can still see the little faces looking up at me with big eyes as they stopped in silence. Let’s just say I lost it. Both boys were sent to their rooms and I was getting on to them and at the same time talking to myself out loud. “Get in your room. I cannot do this anymore. What is wrong with you guys? I don’t know what else to do.” As I walked into my room deflated, my heart was gripped. That is when I heard that still peaceful voice say, “Jennifer, you cannot ask them to demonstrate something they are not seeing.” Ouch. It was a painful correction, but beautiful correction. I called the boys into the room and we sat on the floor, held hands and prayed, not only for their obedience and self control, but for mommy’s as well. I had to humble myself and ask for forgiveness as I had been in the same attitude they were in.

When I went to bed that night, I opened up my Bible and found several scriptures to pray as my desire is to bear self control, not just for my children’s sake, but for mine and ultimately for God. The key scripture I am praying is Proverbs 16:32 “Better to be patient than powerful; better to have self control than conquer a city.” Then I discovered a recent podcast by Priscilla Shirer’s Going Beyond Ministries blog. It was regarding parenting and it hit the bulls eye for me. She gives a resolution for mother’s that I want to share and encourage all moms to listen to the podcast as it explains the below resolution.

Resolution: I will DEMONSTRATE to my children how to love God with all their hearts, minds, and strength, and will train them to respect authority and live responsibly.

As if that was not enough, I woke up the next morning to read John 13 where Jesus demonstrates to his disciples true servanthood and humility by washing the disciples feet. He tells them in verse 15, “I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you.” I definitely think God is trying to teach me something. Hahaha.

I will demonstrate. This is my challenge…to demonstrate. I know I am not perfect and that there will be days where I fail, but I have made a resolution in my heart that I will demonstrate to my children God’s love, patience, gentleness, kindness, joy, peace, goodness, faithfulness and self control both in my actions and words. I pray that as this has challenged me in so many ways that it also challenges you. It challenges you as a mom, parent, or friend to be a demonstrator and be assured that God will give you the grace to do the demonstrating…everything rest in His grace.

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